Egypt has an unfortunate recent history when it comes to education and unemployment – two concerns, that for some reason, many in the country fail to acknowledge their co-dependence. From underpaid, uninterested teachers, to overcrowded classes and extortionately priced books, these failures are prevalent across most, if not all, state run educational institutions across the country – even at university level.
The Student Conference on Communication and Information (SCCI) looks to battle that. Run under the auspices of Cairo University's Faculty of Computers and Information, the annual conference proposes new solutions to bridging the gap between technical studies and the job market.
Through increased participation, funding and general growth, SCCI has even, on occasion, ventured into other territories, including 2012's conference which looked to also address community engagement at a grass-cairo360users level.
The word 'conference' often comes with preconceived ideas; stuffy-looking men in stuffy rooms pointing at a Power Point presentation. SCCI, however, puts the focus on Egypt's youth, offering students a much more interactive and communal experience, with the aim of preparing them for that first vital step into the big, bad world. But again, there's much more to it than how to write an eye-catching cover letter or how to interview; spread over six individual events, SCCI activities channel students' energies into communication skills, opinion building and negotiation, amongst other skills, through creative initiatives. Most importantly, however, is that all these skills are fostered and developed in real-world environments in an aim to equip participants with practical and applicable qualities.
2013's SCCI in April saw 400 students from Cairo University, GUC, AAST, Ain Shams, Helwan, Modern Academy, CIC, MIU and MUST, among others participate, and that number is set to increase with the imminent launch of the 2014 edition. Soon, university campuses across Cairo will have a SCCI recruitment booth for students to sign up.
Participants will then take part in ten preparatory workshop sessions. One of the workshops slated for the coming months include Appsplash; a look into mobile technologies. Devign, meanwhile, helps students delve into the world of website design. Investenur exposes participants to the business world and Markative to the marketing world, while Techware deals with IT software and hardware solutions.
Things kick into gear with an opening event at El Sawy Culturewheel, featuring a diverse range of musical acts – in keeping with SCCI's all-encompassing process of recruitment.
Held in the River Hall of the Zamalek cultural centre, the SCCI Opening Festival will see popular local band take to the stage with their unique and versatile take on contemporary Egyptian music, as well as seasoned rapper, Zap Tharwat; a man whose inconspicuousness on Cairo's mainstream music scene does him an injustice. Rounding of the line-up, Marwan Anwer takes things to a more traditional and classical place with remarkable string instrument talents.
Not content with such a diverse line-up, organisers have also promised a special surprise. Tickets are available for sale (30LE) across a number of areas in Cairo which can all be found here, while tickets on the door will cost 50LE.
To some, a concert of this nature might seem like a broken link in the grand scheme of SCCI's goals. But if anything, it pays testament to everyone involved. As SCCI creeps up on a decade of positive action, this is an initiative that should be applauded, encouraged and taken advantage of.
The gap between graduate and fulltime worker is a divisive issue across the world, and any guidance, help or assistance shouldn't be taken for granted.
You can find more information on the Students' Conference on Communication and Information Facebook page.